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Manchester - Ravi Bopara's flamboyant unbeaten 52 steered England to an emphatic seven-wicket victory over Australia in the reduced-overs fifth and final one-day international in Manchester on Tuesday.
Bopara's 56-ball knock helped England reach a target of 138 from 29 overs with 11 deliveries to spare, sealing a thumping 4-0 series win after the third match was washed out.
Captain Alastair Cook (58) and Bopara's 92-run third-wicket stand proved vital after England had slipped to 34 for two on the sodden pitch.
After rain delayed the start, Australia batted for just 32 overs, making 145 for seven lifted by a late cameo from George Bailey who made 46 not out)
Man-of-the-match Bopara, who averaged 91 for the series, again impressed with the ball by taking two for eight off four overs. Off-spinner James Tredwell chipped in with two for 23.
“I think the pitch got better as the night went on,” said Bopara.
“The knock at the Oval stood me in good stead for the rest of the series,” he added in reference to his 82 in the second game.
Top-ranked test side England, who have risen to third in the one-day rankings, now turn their attention towards the three-match test series against South Africa starting at The Oval next Thursday.
Australia captain Michael Clarke paid tribute to an ever-improving England unit.
“Once again England showed what a class side they are,” he said. “It's another reminder of what a good team they are and how well prepared we're going to have to be in 12 months time for the Ashes.” - Reuters